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Showing posts from November 20, 2005

notes about atlanta: 1

Revisiting Atlanta, for LI, has an oddly metaphysical impact on the old system: I automatically start feeling like a haunt, except of course that I am not revisiting the scene of any crime greater than adolescence. The stuff I used to know when long ago I lived here is so long past in Atlanta time that the only remaining landmarks in the place that the returning native can be sure of are the strip clubs, monuments to Atlanta’s deepest cultural instincts: the Tops n Tails, the Cheetah Lounge, the Pink Pony. It is an oddity among cities in that it is a great Black metropolis surrounded by perhaps the most conservative white suburbs in the country (although I should say that great black suburbs now span Dekalb county and are reaching into Gwinnett – a county that years ago voted down the Metropolitan Atlanta Transit system out of the oldest segregationist fears ever advanced by a Southern politician. Which is a lesson for me: progress always has the same ragged line as defeat, advances c

stupification or prevarication?

LI is an easily bored fella. So, looking for angles to freshen up the perpetual debate about whether Bush lied and people died or whether Bush was merely stupefied and people died, it has occurred to us that the roots of the debate might not lie solely in the low character of Executive Branch personages, who act, admittedly, like the substandard issue of some horrible merger between Animal House and the Cosa Nostra. Perhaps the root of the crisis that has crept upon this fine little war lies in the very notion of preemptive war. That doctrine had its fifteen minutes post 9/11, but it isn’t much discussed any more. Yet it still seems to be the undead heart of the Bush doctrine, pulsing the dark blood through creatures of the night, such as Cheney. Like most such foreign policy doctrines, the one thing that is not discussed when it is discussed is how it is embedded in American domestic politics. That’s because D.C. has the ignorant idea that it conducts wars on its own. War, however,

Arcana Imperii

In the early 80s, a popular Scottish historian, Angus Calder , published a marvelous book about the foundation of the British Empire : Revolutionary Empire. What made this book different from the usual procession of imperial icons that storyboard the empire as a series of adventures was Calder's total grasp of the ebbs and flows of the imperial world. For Calder, the colonial models have to be seen in terms of their first instantiation in the British isles themselves –in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Raleigh, for instance, not only founded the first, shortlived colony on the Eastern seaboard, but he was also planning on colonizing Ireland. He drew up a frankly genocidal plan for getting rid of the Irish, which, while not unleashed (at least in that form) upon the Irish, certainly was unleashed, later, on the Iroquois, the Cherokee, the Algonquin, etc. Calder's point is that imperialism and the history of England, and by extension the Western countries, is not such that one can

Bob Woodward, the high government official said

LI has had a wonderful time watching the fall of the tinhorn journalist, Bob Woodward. If the D.C. clique of insiders carried cards, Woodward’s would certainly be platinum. As the much linked to opinion piece by Tim Rutten in the LA Times noted: “There is something singularly appropriate about the fact that the Plame affair should involve Woodward, whose skillful and courageous use of the ur-voice among confidential sources virtually created a whole genre of Washington reporting. It's a journalistic strategy style dependent on the cultivation of access to well-placed officials greased by promises of "confidentiality." It's a way of doing journalism that still serves its practitioners' career interests, but less and less often their readers or viewers because it's a game the powerful and well-connected have learned to play to their own advantage. Whatever its self-righteous pretensions, it's a style of journalism whose signature sound is less the blowing